Edward Snowden: ‘NSA Is Just Days Away from Taking Over the Internet’

Exiled American whistleblower Edward Snowden has warned that the United States National Security Agency (NSA) is close to seizing control of the Internet.

Snowden, a former NSA contractor who famously leaked highly classified information from the agency in 2013, issued the warning in a post on X.

In his post, Snowden drew attention to a thread originally posted by Elizabeth Goitein.

Goitein, the co-director of the Liberty and National Security Program at the Brennan Center for Justice, warned of a new bill that could see the U.S. government surveillance powers amplified to new levels.

Snowden warns that the new powers will see the NSA “taking over the internet.”

“The NSA is just 𝗗𝗔𝗬𝗦 from taking over the internet, and it’s not on the front page of any newspaper–because no one has noticed,” he said in the post.

The bill in question reforms and extends a part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) known as Section 702.

Currently, the NSA can force internet service providers such as Google and Verizon to hand over sensitive data concerning NSA targets.

However, Goitein claims that through an “innocuous change” to the definition of “electronic communications surveillance provider” in the FISA 702 bill, the U.S. government could go far beyond its current scope.

Under the bill, Democrat President Joe Biden’s administration would be able to force nearly every company and individual that provides any internet-related service to assist with NSA surveillance.

“That sweeps in an enormous range of U.S. businesses that provide wifi to their customers and therefore have access to equipment on which communications transit,” Goitein warns.

“Barber shops, laundromats, fitness centers, hardware stores, dentist’s offices.”

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Additionally, the people forced to hand over data would be unable to discuss the information provided due to hefty gag order penalties and conditions outlined in the bill, added Goitein.

The bill initially received heavy pushback from privacy-conscious Republicans but passed through the U.S. House of Representatives on April 13.

Part of the pushback saw the bill’s proposed spying powers time-frame cut from five years to two years.

It also includes minor amendments to the service providers under the surveillance measures.

However, the amendment did very little to reduce the scope of surveillance granted to the NSA, according to Goitein.

Goitein argues that the amendment could even see service providers such as cleaners, plumbers, and IT service providers that have access to laptops and routers inside people’s homes be forced to provide information and serve as “surrogate spies.”

The bill has seen strong pushback from both sides of the political aisle, however.

Several government representatives claim the bill violates citizen’s constitutional rights.

Democrat Senator Ron Wyden described the bill as “terrifying” and said he would do everything in his power to prevent it from being passed through the Senate.

“This bill represents one of the most dramatic and terrifying expansions of government surveillance authority in history,” Wyden said.

Republican Rep. Anna Paulina Luna (R-FL), who voted against the bill in the House of Representatives, said Section 702 was an “irresponsible extension” of the NSA’s powers.

Luna added that if Biden’s agencies wanted access to data, they must be forced to apply for a warrant.

The bill is slated for a vote in the U.S. Senate on April 19.

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By Frank Bergman

Frank Bergman is a political/economic journalist living on the east coast. Aside from news reporting, Bergman also conducts interviews with researchers and material experts and investigates influential individuals and organizations in the sociopolitical world.

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